Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plastic Made To Conduct Electricity

Date:
December 10, 2008
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Plastic that conducts electricity and metal that weighs no more than a feather? It sounds like an upside-down world. Yet researchers have succeeded in making plastics conductive and cutting production costs at the same time.

A plastic-metal hybrid as a granulate or a strand. In the next step the conductive material can be plasticized (softened) again and applied as a printed circuit board.
Credit: Copyright Fraunhofer IFAM

Plastic that conducts electricity and metal that weighs no more than a feather? It sounds like an upside-down world. Yet researchers have succeeded in making plastics conductive and cutting production costs at the same time.

You could hardly find greater contrasts in one and the same team. Plastic is light and inexpensive, but insulates electric current. Metal is resilient and conducts electricity, but it is also expensive and heavy. Up to now, it has not been possible to combine the properties of these two materials. The IFAM in Bremen has devised a solution that combines the best of both worlds without requiring new machinery to process the components.

The greatest challenge for the researchers was getting the plastic to conduct electricity, for plastic-metal hybrids are to be used in the very places where plastic components are equipped with printed circuit boards, for instance in cars or aircraft. Until now, this was only possible via the roundabout route of punching and bending metal sheets in an elaborate process in order to integrate them in a component.

The new solution is simpler: a composite material. The different materials are not merely slotted together or bonded, but mixed in a special process to form a single material. This process produces a homogeneous and fine-meshed electrically conductive network. The composite possesses the desired chemical stability and low weight, coupled with the electrical and thermal conductivity of metals. As it will no longer be necessary in future to integrate metal circuit boards and the components will soon be able to be produced in a single work step, the production costs and the weight of the material are drastically reduced.

Automobile and aircraft manufacturers, in particular, will benefit from this development. The headlamp housings on a car, for example, are made of plastic. Until now, punched metal sheets have been installed in order to illuminate the headlamps. If the housings were fitted with circuit boards made of the conductive plastic-metal hybrids, they could be produced more efficiently and at lower cost than ever before. Many components of an aircraft, such as the fuselage, are partly made of carbon fiber composites (CFC). However, they lack the ability to conduct electricity. A stroke of lightning would have fatal consequences. A plastic-metal hybrid would be a good alternative for discharge structures on components.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Plastic Made To Conduct Electricity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081209111514.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2008, December 10). Plastic Made To Conduct Electricity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081209111514.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Plastic Made To Conduct Electricity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081209111514.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Why Did Nike Fire Most Of Its Nike FuelBand Team?

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nike fired most of its Digital Sport hardware team, the group behind Nike's FuelBand device. Could Apple or an overcrowded market be behind layoffs? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins